Back to basics as Dolphins look to redeem themselves

2013-11-28 00:00

THE Dolphins return to Pietermaritzburg Oval today, scene of last week’s massacre against the Cobras, to continue their Sunfoil Four-Day Series campaign against the Knights.

Pietermaritzburg is not one of the Dolphins’ favourite grounds and their innings and 98-run defeat in two-and-a-half days will still be fresh in their minds.

From the start, the Dolphins were outplayed in all departments, bowled out for 88 in their first innings and always playing catch-up.

Coach Lance Klusener, a man of few words, accepted the defeat but wants more character and fight from his men this time around.

“We can and must play better cricket,” he said. “We were soft in our opening game and never quite went about our business as we should have.

“It’s a massive wake-up call early on in the competition and perhaps that is a positive, having our really bad game first up in the season.”

Klusener acknowledged the Dolphins were poor in all departments and could only blame themselves.

“This was our first wobbly in about 12 games and obviously we have learnt from it and want to perform better,” he said.

“There’s no excuses. We cannot blame conditions or the pitch. The opposition batted on the same strip and made nearly 400, which we could not reach in our two innings combined.”

Talking of the pitch, KZN Inland Cricket groundsman Jannie Vermaak said he has prepared a strip quite different to last week. “Last week the pitch was brown with little grass and it was a bit crumbly due to the intense heat we experienced a few days before the match,” he said.

“This time around, we are using another pitch, the centre strip, and it has quite a bit of grass. It has been under cover quite a bit and should allow more strokeplay than last week.”

Former groundsman at Kingsmead, Phil Russell, has even made a turn at the Oval, looking at the wicket yesterday and giving it his full approval.

Dolphins skipper Morné van Wyk will just want to score runs, regardless of the pitch, having bagged a pair last week in his first match in charge. He’s been around a long while to know it’s the nature of the game to have a nightmare every so often and is confident of bouncing back.

“It’s not the first time I have been involved in a low-scoring innings,” he said. “I was in the Knights side bowled out for 28 by the Warriors in 2008/09.

“Today is a new game, new conditions and new opportunities. If it works out well, our first match will be a distant memory.”

The Knights arrive full of confidence after holding off the Warriors on the final day of their clash to earn a hard fought draw.

Play starts at 9 am and entry to the Oval is free.

Dolphins: Imraan Khan, Divan van Wyk, Khaya Zondo, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Cody Chetty, Morné van Wyk (capt), Daryn Smit, Keshav Maharaj, Graham Onions, Kyle Abbott, Prenelan Subrayen and Craig Alexander.

Weather forecast

Today: 16C, 37% rain

Tomorrow: 24C, 39% rain

Saturday: 29C, 44% rain

Sunday: 17C, 26% rain

Dolphins v Knights

Played: 18

Dolphins Win: 3

Knights Win: 8

Draw: 7

Dolphins HS: 612-8 (2004/05 Bloemfontein)

Knights HS: 575-8 (2006/07 Durban)

Dolphins LS: 104 (2007/08 Durban)

Knights LS: 88 (2007/08 Bloemfontein)

Dolphins Individual HS: 249 Hashim Amla (2004/05 Bloemfontein)

Knights Individual HS: 218 Davy Jacobs (2004/05 Bloemfontein)

Dolphins Best Bowling: 10-99 Quinton Friend (2009/10 Kimberley)

Knights Best Bowling: 9-62 Ryan McLaren (2007/08 Bloemfontein)

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